Accomplished chef, television star, entrepreneur, and humanitarian, Cat Cora, will give a cooking demonstration on Sat. Feb. 27 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino special events tent beginning at 5 pm; doors open at 4 pm Seats are limited. Tickets go on sale Feb. 1 at 10 am for $35, $45 reserved seating, at the Hard Rock Retail Store and at all Ticketmaster outlets. There will also be a free, one-hour public meet and greet with her from 3 - 4 pm in the hotel lobby.
In 2005, Cat Cora (catcoracooks.com) made television history on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” when she became the first and only female Iron Chef in its franchise history, including the original Japanese version. By then, she was already an accomplished television chef, having debuted six years earlier as co-host of Food Network's “Melting Pot” with Rocco DiSpirito.
She also hosted “My Country My Kitchen: Greece,” “Date Plate”, Fine Living's “Simplify Your Life,” and “Kitchen Accomplished,” another Food Network show that surprised homeowners with three-day kitchen makeovers. A winner of the Bon Appetit magazine’s Teacher of the Year Award for 2006, she appeared that year alongside Wolfgang Puck in NBC's primetime miniseries, “Celebrity Cooking Showdown,” with celebrities paired with famous chefs who competed in a timed cook-off, not unlike “Iron Chef America.” She’s also currently executive chef of Bon Appetit magazine.
Outside of the kitchen, she’s president and founder of Chefs for Humanity, an organization founded in response to the 2004 tsunami disaster. Modeled after Doctors Without Borders, the non-profit organization gathers the culinary community together to raise funds and provide resources for important emergency, educational and hunger-related causes. In addition, she recently became the nutritional spokesperson for UNICEF. In 2008 she was award the Hero Visibility Award by the Human Rights Campaign.
In her most recent book, Cooking From The Hip: Fast, Easy, Phenomenal Meals (Houghton Mifflin), Cat Cora elevates home cooking to new levels, applying her "go-with-what-you've got" philosophy to creating simple, yet sensational meals at home. She’s currently working on her third book, Under The Olive Tree.
In 2009 it was announced that Cora would partner with the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando on a new restaurant venture, Kouzzina, and it opened in fall of last year.
Her cuisine is a blend of her Greek heritage and southern roots, as she was born and raised in a Jackson, Miss. Greek community. Both her father and grandfather were restaurateurs. With advice from her famous mentor, Julia Child, she left Mississippi for New York, where she received the education of her dreams at The Culinary Institute of America. While in New York, she apprenticed with and worked for Chef Anne Rozenweig at Arcadia and worked at the Beekman Tavern under Chef Larry Forgione, of An American Place.
Cat's culinary education continued in Europe with apprenticeships with two of France's three-star Michelin chefs. From George Blanc of Vonnas, she learned a great deal about tolerance, extreme cooking and the cuisine of the French countryside. With Roger Verge, she says she learned not only about classical French cuisine, but also about embracing life and living it to the fullest.
After returning to New York, Cat honed her skills as a sous chef at The Old Chatham Shepherding Company under Chef Melissa Kelly. She soon headed west to plant her roots in Northern California, where she served as chef de cuisine at Napa Valley's Bistro Don Giovanni.
About Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Tampa
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, Fla. (seminolehardrocktampa.com) is Florida’s ultimate entertainment destination with 178,000 square feet of non-stop gaming action casino featuring Blackjack, Baccarat, Pai Gow Poker, Asia Poker, 3 Card Poker, Let it Ride Poker, Texas Hold ‘Em Bonus and Mini Baccarat now in play along with 3,400 of the most popular slot machines plus Florida’s largest and smoke-free poker room, with 50 live action tables dedicated to Texas Hold ‘em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Seven Card Stud. For the fourth year in a row, the American Automobile Association (AAA) has awarded this 250-luxury room hotel its prestigious Four Diamond rating. Enjoy a variety of critically-acclaimed restaurants and bars, including Tampa’s premier steak house Council Oak Steaks & Seafood and Fresh Harvest for a seven live-action kitchen dining experience. Garage parking is free and valet parking is also available. Authentic Native American arts and crafts store Rainmaker now open! The hotel & casino is located off I-4 at North Orient Road and Hillsborough Avenue, between I-75 and I-275, about 10 minutes east of downtown Tampa. For more information, call 813-627-ROCK (7625), 1-800-937-0010 or visit the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa website.